|Jakarta (this is another entry from Alissa)
It’s Sunday afternoon and we have just returned from the American Club. BLTs
and hamburgers and iced tea and ginger ale… and, now say this out loud, “Kay-so-
dil-los” are to be found at the patio restaurant. Arianna and a friend went
swimming while Christopher and I chatted with Annaliese about school, teachers,
and life in general. We did not go up to the room where the Army-Navy football
game was playing.
Our new furniture arrived yesterday afternoon. It looks very nice. I have managed
to get all my shoes off the floor, emptied all (5) of the remaining boxes in the office,
and will start on the clothes boxes still in our bedroom -- soon. The girls now each
have a bookshelf in their rooms. And Christopher and I have two. The office has
two new bookshelves and very long credenza.
We have made a change to our staff situation. Now staff does not come into the
house before 8 am and staff leaves the house by 5pm. No more cooking for us, no
more hovering around us if we dare to open the refrigerator, and no more turning
every light on in the house at 5:45pm.
I don’t think Christopher has written about how Nani’s cooking has never
progressed beyond slicing fruit nicely, has he? Well, Nani, I think, has a bit of a
nervous disposition and is always rushing. And you can’t be a good cook if you
rush. In her rush to cook breakfast, she smashes flat and repeatedly flips fried eggs
to the point they have the texture of rubber (it took three months to figure this out
as I am usually getting ready for work in the mornings). She can’t let the sausage
cook, but stands and nudges it with the spatula until the spatula starts melting.
Toast is untoasted. And even when I went over a recipe with her, discussed it with
her, and she read the recipe out loud to me and then told me how she would cook it
(double-checking for understanding), she still messed up and put in 1 and 3/4 cups
of chicken broth rather than ¼ cup as needed. The first (and only) time she made
lasagna, rather than using the can of tomatoes that I had left sitting out with the
recipe, she used ketchup. It was the sweetest lasagna we have ever eaten. One
bite… and I turned and asked, “Nani, what did you use in the lasagna?” “Oh,
ketchup, Madam,” she proudly responded. And sure enough, there was an empty
bottle of ketchup by the trash and an unopened can of tomatoes on the counter top.
Although I have told her about a hundred times (ok, about five times) to only cook
one cup of rice for dinner… two to three cups are regularly cooked. Massive
amounts of rice. So no more.
In addition to having new furniture and a peaceful, non-staffed house, we are
preparing for Christmas. The tree is up and decorated and the dining room table is
covered with Christmas cards and wrapping paper. We haven’t finished putting out
all the Christmas décor, but the boxes are plopped in the middle of the living room,
ready to be opened and emptied. We have even sent packages to Houston for
We are planning a trip to Perth after Christmas. Perth has beaches, restaurants, no
avian bird flu, and several Targets. We are planning to stay in Fremantle, a coast
town just outside of Perth. We will go to Margaret River and visit wineries. Other
than that… we haven’t gotten any more planning done. We haven’t even found a
place to stay.
Arianna has braces as of two weeks ago. She and Christopher went to Singapore
yesterday for a wire change and tightening. And Arianna was/is the captain of her
soccer team and now has a large golden globe on the breakfast table for first place
in the Friday evening soccer tournament. Today she went and tried out for a
separate, local soccer league. She’ll be the only girl from her school to play, and
there is only one other girl that plays. Perhaps now more girls will play.
Annaliese did the lights (or some of them, anyway) for her drama department’s
“scene night” on Thursday. Her Spanish is quite good and she is thinking about
trying to organize a “stammtisch,” only in Spanish. I can hear her upstairs laughing
at some movie. For more on Annaliese, see www.livejournal.com/users/javaliese/.
And on Tuesday, Christopher is going to Yogyakarta on a field trip with the
Indonesian Heritage Society. Yogyakarta is where Borobudur is, and is considered
the spiritual/cultural center of Indonesia (or at least of Java). He’ll be back
And finally, we are buying another car. We are going to buy Ibu Basuki’s car. Ibu
Basuki is Christopher’s Bahasa Indonesia teacher and her husband passed away
about two months ago. She doesn’t need two cars anymore. I don’t know what it
is, but it has four doors, is blue, and only has about 30,000 kilometers on it.